Jenryck Backs Policy Exchange Report on ‘rethinking planning system from first principles’


The Housing Secretary has called for a rethink of the “overly bureaucratic” planning system, with reform seen as a key part of the Government’s economic recovery plan.

Robert Jenrick has said he wants to “speed up and simplify” the process and help young people buy their first home.

Ministers consider planning reform to be one of the ways to get the UK economy going again after the coronavirus pandemic, with work ongoing in Number 10 and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

Mr Jenrick made the comments following a report by the Policy Exchange think tank, which described the current system as a “straitjacket” and called for reform.

He said: “As Housing Secretary, I want everyone, no matter where in the country they live, to have access to affordable, safe and high-quality housing, and to live in communities with a real sense of place.

“It’s time to rethink planning from first principles. High-quality design and sensitivity to the local vernacular must be at the very heart of the process.

“The time has come to speed up and simplify this country’s overly bureaucratic planning process.

“We’ll do that with a focus on creating beautiful, environmentally friendly places, building homes of all tenures and helping more young people onto the ladder.

“This Government is thinking boldly and creatively about the planning system to make it fit for the future.”

Bridget Rosewell, the National Infrastructure Commissioner, said in the think tank report: “Abolishing the Plan does not mean a free-for-all.

“A framework of long-term investments in infrastructure for power, transport and water is still needed, and that in turn needs some vision of longer term ‘big’ things. But in detail, local interests and local people can fight it out.”

She added: “My review of planning inquiries showed that they could be done twice as fast just by applying sensible rules, most of which already existed, to manage the process.

“Other planning disputes are often also resolvable without having a complicated set of rules including local plan preparation and examinations in public.”

The report Planning Anew is a series of often contradictory essays from wildly different points of view – not a coherent programme of reform.

Easily the most idiotic is from Briget Roswell who should know better

Abolishing the Plan does not mean a free for all. A framework of long
term investments in infrastructure for power, transport and water is still
needed and that in turn needs some vision of longer term ‘big’ things. But
in detail, local interests and local people can fight it out.

Ah replace a plan with a plan and a fight with a bunfight.  That really makes sense

By far the best if from David Rudlin

Robert Adam simply proposes a return to an 18th Century position where great estates can build what they like (providing it is classical).

Even less coherent si from Warwick Lightfoot head of economics at the Policy Exchange.

The review should be informed by the principle that a land owner should be free to build or change the use of a building rather than relying on a presumption for development within a baroque framework of development plans, inspection decisions and case law

So an 18th century system again, no plans just massive PD rights.

Only David Rudline presents a coherent plan which could easily come from a TCPA paper.

The top tier was a National Spatial Plan, the middle was City Region / County Spatial strategies and the third was district-level zonal coding plans,

Sadly his ideas based on what works intyernationally are least likley to proceed.

The other essays are an odd bunch on topic specific issues.

I will place a bet that this round of ‘reform’ will get nowhere.  That is because in the last round at least quad/PAG had a clear plan based on legal principles and structure.  Know one at the Policy Exchange has.  It is series of incoherent malcontents and rambles, nothing to even put in a green paper.


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